Welcome to USGBC's New Government Update Newsletter
Welcome to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Government Update, a new quarterly newsletter meant to keep you informed on the latest green building news affecting the government sector. You’ll also get advice, ideas and best practices from the industry’s leading green building experts. If you wish to continue receiving the Government Update in your inbox, please subscribe today »
From The Field
Going for Gold at Everett Community College
By Jeremy Cohen, USGBC Government Sector Associate
From an interview with Washington State Green Building Advisor Stuart Simpson
Gray Wolf Hall is seeking LEED certification, and if successful it will be the first LEED-certified building to be constructed on the Everett Community College Campus in Everett, Wash. The school took every reasonable opportunity available to make the building a model for future campus development. Support from the Washington State Department of General Administration together with an enthusiastic design team and contractor helped them exceed their green building goals and stay within budget.
In Washington State, all new construction and major renovation projects larger than 5,000 square feet receiving funding from the State Capital Budget are required to achieve LEED Silver certification or better. To provide direct support to these projects, the Department of General Administration (GA) created a green building advisor position, currently held by Stuart Simpson, to centralize administration of the green building program. The integrated design process is the key to a successful green building project and offers an opportunity to be innovative and try new materials, Mr. Simpson said. Teams that have a helping hand to get started are able to go above and beyond their stated objectives.
The college needed flexible learning spaces for the department of Communications and Social Sciences and required specialized video conferencing spaces for the University Center. These spaces will allow the college to continue to practice its mission to “Stay Close, Go Far,” and enable the building to be easily converted to accommodate other uses in the future. The ability to re-purpose spaces and re-use materials not only helps the university to meet its environmental goals but also saves money. Use of natural ventilation dovetailed nicely with the college’s desire to provide operable windows in all offices. The office wing is angled slightly to the northwest, allowing views of both the Olympics and Cascades. Ample daylight fills the offices, and the direct/indirect lighting is individually controllable. The General Contractor took every opportunity to provide LEED-compliant materials and make certain that all subcontractors signed a pledge to do the same. Their exemplary performance made it possible for the project to aim beyond its mandate for LEED Silver. Gray Wolf Hall is currently under review for LEED certification, hoping for a Gold rating.
Mr. Simpson was able to build on the experience from several state-funded LEED-certified projects to help the Everett Community College project team work toward their first LEED certification. Every new construction project has unique challenges and goals, but there are several key components that the Department of General Administration has found to be crucial to the success of their green building projects:
- Select an architect with green building and LEED experience: Having an experienced architect that is a champion of reaching LEED goals is the most important step for success, Mr. Simpson said.
- Hold an eco-charrette: This is a pre-design meeting where the design team, building owners and occupants, facilities managers, and other stakeholders come together to set the green building goals by working through the LEED scorecard and discussing the inherent trade-offs and synergies between different approaches.
- Maximize utility incentives: Engage utility representatives as early as possible to make sure you maximize the technical and financial support that is available. Grey Wolf Hall earned $103,000 in utility incentives.
- Conduct a LEED training with contractors: The green building advisor conducts a half-day training with the general contractor and other members of the project team to make sure that everyone is informed about LEED project requirements and roles for managing documentation. Nearly 100% on the construction waste from Grey Wolf Hall was recycled or reused onsite.
- Monitor progress and revisit the LEED scorecard: The Department of General Administration’s LEED quality assurance process requires project managers to submit status reports and LEED scorecards at several stages during design and construction. This is an opportunity to identify if there are any problem areas that may benefit from lessons learned on previous projects.
With these best practices in their tool-box, the motivated and patient project team at Everett completed a building that they could be proud of and one that exceeded their initial green building goals. To read more about the green building program at the Department of General Administration visit http://www.ga.wa.gov/EAS/green/ or contact:
Stuart Simpson, CEM, LEED AP
Green Building Advisor
Dept. of General Administration
From The Desk Of
Joan Kelsch, Environmental Planner
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington’s Green Building Density Incentive Program
Ten years after launching our green building bonus density program for commercial development, Arlington made big changes. The program allows most large office or high-rise residential buildings to apply for a small amount of additional usable space in exchange for achieving LEED certification. Given Arlington’s commitment to smart growth, transit-oriented development and general environmental awareness, the incentive program for private development proved to be a successful way to encourage environmentally responsible construction.
The original program provided a bonus density incentive to new office buildings achieving LEED Silver certification. Between 2000 and 2003, only one building chose to participate, so we expanded the program in 2003 to include all types of large development (office, high-rise residential and mixed-use projects) and allowed increasing density amounts for progressively higher levels of LEED certification.
Between December 2003 and December 2008, our County Board approved 24 buildings as part of the green building bonus density program, and many have started construction. Of these, two projects have been completed and successfully achieved their LEED certification. The 24 buildings that were approved with the LEED bonus represent 55% of approved commercial office space and 24% of approved residential units. About half the projects committed to LEED Certified and half to LEED Silver, with one LEED Gold and one Platinum project.
County staff is pleased with the success of this program and that it will result in many green buildings in the community in the upcoming years. At first, the program required very little additional staff time, and one staff person was assigned to review participating projects. With the enthusiastic response of the development community to the expanded program, we have hired an additional staff person to help review projects. Both staff members are LEED APs with additional classroom and on-the-job training.
Because the construction industry in Arlington is increasingly moving toward green and because buildings are achieving LEED certification more easily, we again revised our policy in the spring of 2009 to encourage higher levels of LEED certification. We now offer lower density bonuses for LEED Certified and Silver office buildings and slightly higher density bonuses for LEED Gold and Platinum office projects. A small additional density bonus will be added for residential projects to encourage LEED certification for residential buildings.
For more information, see www.arlingtonva.us or contact Joan Kelsch, Environmental Planner, Arlington County, Virginia (703-228-3599 or [email protected]).
Government Committee News
Government Strategy Session: Greening Existing Buildings with Stimulus Funds
The March Government Community Strategy Session webcast attracted 36 participants from across the nation to discuss challenges, opportunities and strategies for greening existing buildings with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The webcast featured two invited content experts who helped to initiate conversation and answer questions from participants: Ash Awad and David Terry
Ash Awad, Vice President of Energy Services for McKinstry Co., discussed the implementation of retro-commissioning and energy retrofits with stimulus funds. Mr. Awad suggested leveraging stimulus funds to the greatest extent possible by pursuing projects with a mix of state and utility incentives, and financing options such as revolving loan funds or energy performance contracts. Dan Burgoyne, Sustainability manager with the State of California Department of General Services, shared experiences from his state’s retro-commissioning effort and reported plans to use stimulus funds to implement the retrofit opportunities that were identified through that effort, projecting facility energy savings as much 25% from the combined activities.
David Terry, Executive Director for the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), shared the perspective of state energy offices (SEOs) on the opportunity to advance green building with ARRA funds. Mr. Terry noted that SEOs in virtually every state or territory have programs to support green building, and that SEOs are actively trying to coordinate statewide programs with local priorities or plans for the use of stimulus funds. Mr. Terry encouraged participants to reach out to their local SEO for information about how to apply for stimulus funds and about programs that can help leverage available funding.
The USGBC Government Committee is a member-elected group working to find solutions to the most pressing issues facing the government community. The committee will host two additional Strategy Sessions this year to facilitate deeper and more consistent communication among government employees nationwide working to promote green building policies and ensure their effective implementation. For a full schedule of upcoming Strategy Sessions and to view an archive of this webcast, visit www.usgbc.org/government and click the link to “COMMUNITY.”
Join the USGBC government committee for the next Strategy Session webcast: Policies and Incentives for Private Sector Green Building, scheduled for June 11 at 1 p.m. EDT.
New Resource: The Roadmap to Sustainable Government Buildings
Going green for government buildings has never been more important – not only for government employees but also for the community and its taxpayers. Currently, 31 states, 193 localities, and 12 federal agencies or departments have policies or initiatives that aim to improve the built environment through the LEED green building rating system. See the full list. Because a LEED-certified building requires a different approach to the building, implementing LEED on a large scale helps drive governments to adjust their internal processes to align with green building strategies.
To enable and encourage this realignment, USGBC and the National Association of State Facilities Administrators (NASFA) formed a working group to collect tools, resources and success stories from states with established and emerging green building programs. This work resulted in the creation of a 70-page guidebook called the Roadmap to Sustainable Government Buildings. The Roadmap outlines the major components of a comprehensive government green building program. It identifies common obstacles, shares successful strategies, and provides resources developed by states to support staff working on green building projects.
The Roadmap is designed for government staff with all levels of green building experience. Users can quickly find specific resources, learn more about a topic of interest, or browse strategies and ideas to improve their own green building programs. The Roadmap has a considerable amount of resources for budgeting, administration and program evaluation. Originally envisioned as a toolkit for state project managers, the Roadmap quickly grew into a guide for developing a robust program where high-performance green building is standard practice.
Perhaps most importantly, the Roadmap creates a continuous forum for sharing and developing peer resources for building an effective and efficient government green building program. To evolve green building programs across the country, governments must be sharing and seeking best practices, learning from the strategies, successes and challenges of others. The USGBC Government team will work to seek out new resources, initiate dialogue among governments, and refine the Roadmap with the experiences from government green building programs across the country.
Download the Roadmap to Sustainable Government Buildings »
Share your experiences, comments, and questions by sending an email to: [email protected]
USGBC’s 2009 Federal Summit
More than 500 attendees participated in the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Federal Summit on May 14, 2009. The Summit was a daylong exchange of ideas on how to best meet the federal government’s goals of increased sustainability with a positive impact on the environment and economy. High-level officials from throughout the federal sector, including senior White House adviser Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, discussed topics such as leveraging the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to achieve environmental goals, implementing technical solutions to meet the energy-efficiency goals set out in Energy Independence and Security Act, and updates on LEED and other USGBC activities.
The 2009 Federal Summit marks the launch of USGBC’s new Federal Green Building Leadership Award program. For nearly a decade, the federal government has pioneered the use of LEED and innovative green building initiatives to lead by example in advancing the sustainability of the built environment. The Federal Green Building Leadership Award program honors this crucial work by recognizing individuals within the federal government who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in and commitment to green building. The 2009 honorees included Kevin Kampschroer, Acting Director of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings for the U.S. General Services Administration, and Mark Ginsburg, Senior Executive of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy.
For more information and to download presentations from the Summit, visit www.usgbc.org/federalsummit.
Green Economic Recovery Resources Web Page
Green building strategies, including energy efficiency, are a cornerstone of the plan to revitalize our economy. Funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) offers a tremendous opportunity for state and local governments to jump-start green building efforts, create green jobs, and save energy and money. USGBC is committed to helping our communities make the most of this historic opportunity. The Green Economic Recovery Resources Web page is intended to support state and local leaders in using ARRA funding to make green building a keystone of their green economic recovery and growth. Included on this Web page are:
- NEW!- “Top 10 Ways to use Recovery Funds for Green Building”: Projects with strategic benefits to bring economic growth, environmental stewardship, efficiency and good green jobs to your community.
- NEW!- “Accessing and Implementing EECBG Funds Webcast”: Hear guidance and strategy from the U.S. Department of Energy; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; Babylon, N.Y.; and CTG Energetics in the fourth webcast in USGBC’s Stimulus Implementation Webcast Series.
- “Highlights for the Green Building Community”: An overview of how green building can benefit from various provisions of the ARRA.
- “Matrix of Key Provisions and Resources Related to Green Building.”
- Resources and opportunities for interactive, peer-to-peer learning.
- “Guidance and Best Practices on Government Green Building Programs and Green Building Policy.”
- “Green Guidance on any Government Project – the LEED Way.”
Visit www.usgbc.org/economicrecovery »